Introduced in January 2016, Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) is a statutory body setup to nurture and support local enterprises from start up to growth. Working closely with ministries, and local and for- eign government and non-government agencies, it seeks to foster the growth of business enterprises and boost contributions to Brunei’s gross domestic product (GDP) Through DARe, a common and unified approach is taken to direct, support and encourage the growth of local enterprises under a single body represented and driven by the private sector.
DARe works with local entrepreneurs, and has set up a number of initiatives to help in their develop- ment, including holding a number of dialogues for them with government bodies as well as special focus group sessions with entrepreneurs. It has seven key functions and services: promoting growth of Brunei enterprises; focused development of specific sectors; access to funding for enterprises; facilitating market access; capacity development and advisory services; industrial space and facilities; and operating the business support centre.
DARe’s Enterprise Programmes include assistance schemes and capacity-building programmes to sup- port the growth of local enterprises at various levels.
The Industry Business Academy (IBA) is an SME development and learning programme developed by DARe after analysing present-day issues related to capabilities and knowledge of the local entrepre- neurial environment.
The IBA programme is open to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs of all levels. Participants are allo- cated levels according to their requirements, and are also welcomed in other levels, should they see the need for it.
Whether the participants are at the ideation stage or on the edge of exporting their products to another region, the IBA programme provides the guidance and training that enables the participant to con- fidently set their business on the path towards achieving their goals.
There are three bootcamps – intensive programmes that train and mentor aspiring and existing entre- preneurs to launch their businesses. The Startup Bootcamp is a 100-day “accelerator” programme that identifies businesses that have the potential to scale rapidly and export their products and services beyond Brunei’s borders.
Another is the e-Commerce Bootcamp, a three- month programme that equips Bruneians with the how-tos of online payment, logistics, finance and social marketing. After an introduction to e-com- merce, the bootcamp begins with an offline segment covering the essentials of doing business online before delving into a hands-on “online” segment where participants will be able to begin engaging in cross-border trade.
Meanwhile, the Microbusiness Bootcamp is a boot- camp targeting micro enterprises – businesses with less than five employees. It is split into three separate month-long programmes: one for women (Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme), youth (Young Entrepreneurship Development Programme), and university graduates (Business Launchpad). These programmes not only cover the skills needed to start a business, but also the formal processes for registering and operating a business as well as financing options.
Also under DARe is the iCentre – a startup incuba- tion programme and co-working space for entrepre- neurs with access to capacity-building programmes and the startup ecosystem. iCentre works closely with local and regional collaborators to develop and conduct workshops in the areas of ideation, market validation and fundraising.
Among the programmes and activities under iCentre are the IBA, Startup Bootcamp Programme, as well as sharing and networking sessions, creative events and showcases.
Another DARe facility is the Knowledge Hub (Khub), which is a platform for the development of the cre- ative and multimedia industry through programmes and activities that are run in partnership with companies such as Microsoft and Sesame World Technology.
The Business Support Centre is another notable feature of DARe. The Business Support Centre facilitates and serves all key business related pro- cesses for companies and other agencies. It acts as a consolidated front-end to serve all customers, and includes services relevant to enterprises of all sizes throughout their lifecycle, from starting a business, applying for various permits, getting industrial land, paying taxes and more.
This centre provides entrepreneurs and businesses a single portal or venue through which they can: access and submit business applications for per- mits, licenses and registrations; obtain business advice and information; and learn about and apply for SME programmes, grants and loans.
The year 2017 saw DARe launch the ‘Made in Brunei’ initiative, creating awareness and promoting locally-made products through various offline and online channels. It also aims to reduce the barriers to entry for micro and small local entrepreneurs to sell and reach a wider customer base, as well as to support the development and growth of local prod- ucts for them to reach international standards and be export-ready.
The ‘Made in Brunei’ initiative has three pro- grammes. One is the Unexpected Treasures In-flight Brochure, which features premium, exclusive and high quality local products such as jong- sarat, jongsarat by-products, crystals, handicrafts, decorative items, silverware, as well as perfume and health and beauty products. Accompanying the brochure is an e-commerce website where custom- ers can purchase the products and get the products delivered directly to them.
Another programme is the Unexpected Treasures Display, through which DARe displays premium, exclusive and high quality Bruneian-made products in key locations around Brunei such as the airport, hotels and malls.
The third programme involves having a supermarket shelf dedicated to ‘Made in Brunei’ dry goods and health and beauty products, at participating supermarkets.
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